PSV fail to catch up with Ajax, AC Omonia last Europa League opponent

PSV - Omonia Nicosia. Photo credit: DAZN

After PSV reached the knockout phase of the Europa League, they failed to reduce the backlog on Ajax in the Eredivisie to one point. The Eindhoven squad drew against Heerenveen after another weak second half; maybe they haven’t got the leak above the water after all?

PSV kicked off without Eran Zahavi, but with Mohamed Ihattaren in the starting eleven. Denzel Dumfries was also fit enough to start again, while Noni Madueke took place on the bench. The starting players had to perform whilst the rain pouring down from the Frisian skies. After last week’s achievement of winning against a Spanish team in Spain for the first time ever, today was a possibility to win against Heerenveen for the first time in Friesland in eight years.

First half

The first chance was for SC Heerenveen, in the second minute already. A forward pass from the ‘Superfriezen’ was wrongly intercepted by Pablo Rosario and then ended up in Henk Veerman’s feet. He went straight toward PSV’s goal, Jordan Teze couldn’t keep him from firing into Yvon Mvogo’s short corner, but the Swiss stretched far enough to block the shot. Soon after PSV got a chance, much like the one Donyell Malen got in Granada, but this time he wasn’t at the first post to hit home. From this moment on, Heerenveen moved back a lot, sometimes with nine players behind the ball.

Rosario received the first red card of the match, his fourth of the season already. A shot on target by Sangaré in the twentieth minute crashed on the fists of goalkeeper Erwin Mulder, and one minute after Mvogo used his feet to keep Veerman from scoring the opening goal. This chance came from the same kind of counter-attack most opponents have been using to fight PSV in the last couple of months. Malen came too late to turn another chance into gold two minutes later. Olivier Boscagli’s beautiful heel shot didn’t get what it deserved either.

sc Heerenveen and PSV logo’s

Halfway the game got a more open character, with pressure coming from both teams. In the 28thminute, PSV finally rewarded themselves with the opening goal. Cody Gakpo gave a short splitting pass to Mario Götze, who entered the box and chipped the ball gently over Mulder. The same Götze again roamed the field, giving passes from the left-back position and then showing up in the center again, which made it hard to defend him. Gakpo failed to get his team into a comfortable position in the 37th minute, but he put so much energy in the game, fans would possibly forgive him for that.

PSV lowered the ball tempo in the last five minutes, but still had full control over the match. That’s why it was hard to understand they gave away yet another chance to Heerenveen, after taking the unnecessary risk by setting up an attack just before teatime. Even in the 45th minute Joey Veerman got the chance to shoot on target and forced Mvogo to make another save. With only 22 per cent ball procession, the Frisians still managed to create a lot of danger.

Second half

PSV started the second half with a much lower ball tempo. After 58 minutes, Jorrit Hendrix came in for Ihattaren, and PSV pulled back more and more to their own goal. Ten minutes later Fein Adrian Fein came in for Max and Noni Madueke for Gakpo, but one minute later it was the same story as so many times before, this season. PSV’s defence split open by Joey Veerman, and this time Henk Veerman brought the equalizer on the scoring board.

The first answer came from Madueke, but he shot off target in the 72nd minute. Directly after Henk Veerman got his next chance, but his shot was turned into a corner kick. Five minutes later Joel Piroe came in for Malen, and Richie Ledezma replaced Götze. One minute later Heerenveen striker Mitchell van Bergen swirled through the PSV defence and shot the 2-1 against the nets.

In the last minute of the official playing time, Mvogo worked hard to keep the 3-1 out. PSV countered and saw Piroe score the equalizer in the 92nd minute. Another minute later Sangaré used his hands to keep the Frisians from scoring the 3-2, forcing Bas Nijenhuis to pull the red card, but the VAR called the whole situation off due to offside. The two last-minute corner kicks didn’t help PSV to get back on top anymore, and an enormous chance on taking over the second position on the Eredivisie ranking from Vitesse was left unused.

Watch the full resume here.

Next opponent: AC Omonia

Athletic Club Omonoia Nicosia are the number last in Group E, and the match in Eindhoven is the last one of a total of six. The Cypriots got only four points out of five matches but can be considered PSV’s great helper because those four points were gained from their two meetings with PAOK Saloniki. First Omonia drew at Toemba stadium, then last Thursday they beat the Greeks at home. This victory secured PSV to move on to the knockout phase because PAOK simply can’t overtake the Eindhoven squad based on the number of points anymore. Thursday’s match will decide whether PSV will end as group winner or runner up and if Omonia will finish last or second to last.

logo AC Omonia Nicosia


For a brief history of the Cypriot club, check this article.

Current situation

The away match in Nicosia dates back to 29 October. PSV won, and the Nicosians took only two points out of four competition matches ever since. They also took only three points out of three Europa League matches. The fact that they beat PSV’s main rival last Thursday, was an unexpected, and an enormous help for the Eindhoven squad. PAOK now surely wants to take the honour of beating Granada CF, also in order to not finish last in the group, while PSV surely wants to fight for the honour of group winner while giving substitutes the possibility to show themselves from the kick-off.

Strengths and weaknesses

AC Omonia holds the sixth position in the Cypriot 1. Division. They won five and drew five times in twelve matches so far. With 15 goals scored and eight conceded, it is clear where problems lie. Apart from the 3-0 victory against AEL Limassol on 4 October, and yesterday evening’s 0-3 victory over APOEL Nicosia, they haven’t scored more than two goals in a single match. Only four of their strikers have a competition goal, Michal Ďuriš scored his second only yesterday. Attacking midfielder Éric Bauthéac – famous for his personal approach to the Panenka – is top scorer with four goals in eight matches, but he hasn’t played since he left the pitch in Granada with an injury, on 26 November.

Their unexpected Europa League victory over PAOK, last week Thursday, might have been the beginning of a comeback from the Meditteranean islanders. The fact that they scored three goals for the first time in months against local rivals APOEL proved they still know how to win away matches under pressure. Even though it is impossible for Omonia to reach the knockout-phase, they might want to win the game in order to finish above PAOK, who now only have one point more. PSV has the advantage of playing at home, and they surely will try to finish as group winner. Granada has only one point more than PSV, but they play an away game against PAOK, who surely don’t want to finish last.

Situation PSV

Roger Schmidt has four days to recover and prepare his team for the last Europa League match of 2020. Cody Gakpo, Mario Götze, Mohamed Ihattaren, Donyell Malen and Philipp Max were all taken off the pitch in the second half, yesterday, while Noni Madueke played only 25 minutes. Adrian Fein, Jorrit Hendrix, Richie Ledezma and Joel Piroe were all able to take some minutes, so maybe this was all yet again a choice from the German head coach to give some players rest and let other get back into shape.

Club-watcher Rik Elfrink announced yesterday that Mauro Júnior, Ryan Thomas and Eran Zahavi will not be ready to play. They hope to be fit enough to make their comeback before Christmas, Érick Gutiérrez and Armando Obispo are planning to make their first minutes early 2021. Marco van Ginkel hasn’t picked a date yet, while Maxi Romero won’t turn back before summer.

Match information


Match:                                PSV – Omonia Nicosia

Date:                                  10 December 2020

Time:                                  18:55 (6:55 PM)

Location:                             Philips Stadion, Eindhoven


VAR:                                   not available

Broadcast:                           RTL7, Fox Sports


Article by Joey van der Hart for Eindhoven News

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